Film tells real story behind Tahltan victory over Sacred Headwaters mines
As the BC Liberal government toots its own horn following its buy-back of highly contentious coal mine licences throughout the Sacred Headwaters, Beyond Boarding excerpts portions of its documentary film Northern Grease to tell the real story of what happened.
From Beyond Boarding’s Tamo Campos:
In the summer of 2013, we spent over 6 weeks camping up Klappan at Beauty Camp, eating wild meat, learning about the history of the land, taking over Fortune Minerals drills and dealing with daily police confrontations. (the cops having a camp consisting of a helicopter, a plane, 8 ATV’s & 6 Wall tents in the headwaters sure shone a light on the RCMP’s priorities).
During this time, I was extremely fortunate to have a glimpse into the sacrifice and dedication the Klabona Keepers and their families have made over the past decade.
In a world where human rights and environmental victories seem hard to come by, the Klabona Keepers showed me they were an exception.
Their track record in the past decade speaks for itself, they’ve evicted Royal Dutch Shell, Fortune Minerals, Firesteel and overhunting in the Tl’abona (more recently known as the Sacred Headwaters).
Lead by their elders and fuelled by a responsibility to land and future generations, they’ve stood against the colonial laws and courts, a government that won’t recognize unceded indigenous territories and at times armed police officers.
Although many will take credit for the protection and stewardship of the Sacred Headwaters; it’s these elders and their families we should all be thanking. Without their fighting laws and standing up against the colonial state, the government would have continued with the status quo of industrial expansion and dispossession of traditional hunting grounds.
These families have stood on blockades during snow and rain storms, been taken to jail, faced legal charges and sacrificed economic benefits in an area where jobs are hard to come by.
It is not a romantic victory but one filled with sacrifice, dedication and a united commitment to uphold ancestral responsibilities.
As government and the TCC(Tahltan Central Council) are set to move forwards in discussion about management plans, it’s those elders and families from Iskut that need to have a voice in this. They were the ones that brought are attention to the area while living, camping, and subsisting from the Klappan. They should have the final say in any decision.
These are the true heroes that fought so that this land could remain sacred, to us all.